* Posts by Dibbles

112 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Jun 2009


Yes! New company smartphones! ... But I don't WANT one


"This being Canada, "bring your own phone" doesn't give you much of a rate discount"

Amen brother! Although having had smartphones in both the UK and Canada, it seems fair to suggest much of your headache arises from being in Canada. The selection of handsets available is pretty poor, all things considered, and the 2-year minimum contracts (recently reduced from 3) means there's little incentive for the carriers to entice you with newer handsets.

I look enviously at the choice available in the US, and in Europe - multiple versions of Sony's Xperia; Samsung Galaxy S4 widely available, and you can upgrade to it in less than a year; all sorts of Android, Windows and iOS devices in a range of sizes and colours.

Mind you, the underlying problem is broadly the same. Windows phones are uninspiring; iPhones are ubiquitous, and Android is pretty variable in execution and reliability...

Microsoft shoots Windows Live Messenger, brings in Skype IM


WL killed off?

"even after the killing off of the Windows Live brand..."

erm... still seems to be alive and well, appearing as a logo in the top left of the Hotmail home screen.

Any other useful titbits of information from the future? Who wins the 2016 US presidential election?

Windows Phone 8: What Nokia and Microsoft must do


Forlorn hope?

Good analysis, interesting read. Two points particularly stood out. Your point about the gaping hole between tech geek press and mainstream marketing tools (or indeed newspapers) is something that's bugged me for a long time. There's no real title or analysis filling that gap between "we dismantled it and it had 3 chips, each faster than the zzzzz......." and the Grauniad's "it looks pretty and I can call home on it", and it's a pain.

Also, this quote: "Microsoft really must stop being so enamoured of its own cleverness here, and begin to take this seriously". It's flippant and yet depressingly astute to say that this is unlikely, in the broader scheme of things. Unfortunately, MS develops most of its products in a complete vacuum, surrounded by other Microsofties who think that a) it's the best thing since sliced bread and b) the average punter will care. It's been the achilles heel for so long (various iterations of Windows illustrate this so well), and seems unlikely to go away any time soon. :(

Surface: Because Microsoft does so well making hardware?


You forget...

...that MS's big announcement a couple of years ago was a Windows tablet - the HP Slate. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, HP got cold feet and it went away.

In that context, given that Gates has been banging on about the future of PCs being tablets for about the last 10 years, I guess it's not a surprise that MS has gone it alone on this. Question is, will it fly?

Yahoo! enters! last! chance! saloon!



This seems to be half an article; any word on when the second half - with conclusions, implications and analysis - might be along?

US movie viewers make sudden shift to net


missing figure?

This could be me reading it wrong, but you quote figures for downloaded viewing and physical sales - which means no data for physical rental?

Facebook: Your boss asks for your password, we'll sue him! Maybe


But but but...

On what grounds would Facebook take legal action against such an employer? Where? How? Just.... why?!

Charge of the Metro brigade: Did Microsoft execs plan to take a hit?


You credit them with too much sense...

I think the problem is that for MS senior management, this has become a philosophy - having felt that they are missing out while Apple leads the field, their approach is to try to force their version onto consumers' machines in such a way that they simply can't avoid it. The irony is that internally they talk about "we don't want to force people to do it our way, we want them to WANT to do it" - they applied it to Bing, WinPho and so on. Yet externally they seem only too happy to disconnect common sense (such as it is in Corp) and try to ram this down enterprise's throat. The level of self-delusion is fantastic, but it's not exactly unusual from MS. It's just that until now it's been mainly seen within things like Windows Live, that the markets really don't care about.

American pies are cooling on the windowsill ahead of Pi Day


Re: I am disappointed

Like your thinking there. In fact, couldn't we create a hypersphere pie - that is, a pie in 4 dimensions? One that extends through time, I suppose...

Katie Price's teasing 'strapline reveal' avoids bust


Interesting thought

...Wouldn't this fall foul of the US's (proposed?) law requiring all paid-for endorsements to make clear that it's paid for? At best it might be a bit shaky...

A sysadmin in telco hell


It may be the same in the UK but...

...it does seem that customer service in Canada falls into the passive-aggressive cliche of old. Yes of course I'd like to help, but no, I actually can't help, and no, I don't see that as being a big problem...

Yahoo! chairman! falls! on! his! sword!


Funny thing...

Facebook's profit for 2011, as announced in their IPO filing, was $1bn. Yahoo!'s profit is currently running at about $1bn a year, as best I can make out.

One is allegedly worth $100bn, the other... isn't.

Apple eyes ISPs to sell 'iTV'



...alternatively, that they want to get onto iTV precisely *because* it will cut into their cable subscriptions. The talk is that the lucky tube-provider will have exclusive rights to the latest Apple iMustHave, so they will be able to gouge punters to their heart's content with overpriced internet bundles.

And, with reference to the line "Equally sure seems the notion that the so-called 'iTV' won't be remotely revolutionary, though it will be spun that way by the glib-tongued manufacturer" - so true, and yet it doesn't matter. With the Apple love-in in the media, it's going to be spun out of all recognition (news reports are already saying it has the potential to turn the TV market upside down); and consumers will buy into it and ignore the IPTV products previously marketed. It makes me embarrassed to be human...

Record numbers of readers flock to The Register



Out of professional curiosity, why ABCe and not one of the online measurement companies like Nielsen or comScore? Not that they're better, just more commonly used, particularly if you're selling ads outside the UK...

Flash stalks Seagate's hybrid drives


Such a big word in two letters

"If OCZ and others can offer TLC flash SSDs at equivalent capacity and price to hybrid drives and enable longer battery life then it's surely game over."

Guess which word?

Microsoft sharpening axe for marketing heads - report


Ye-es, but then again, no...

The thing is, MS has form at taking successful guys from the PC/ Server/ Enterprise side and putting them in other sectors, where they struggle. The biggest wheeze is taking those Windows guys and putting them in mid-level roles in the online division - because guys who can code and ship Windows on time *clearly* know how to manage a publishing arm and sell advertising space.

And while the talk of a mid-management massacre sounds fantastic, and would do a lot to trim some of the ridiculous amounts of flab the org has, again we've been here before; for all the chat, it's generally the guys and girls at the bottom of the pile who get trimmed, while mid-level heads of nothing continue in their titular role with nothing but a title left of their original responsibilities...

Ad slingers - obeying EU snoop code is NOT GOOD ENOUGH



The problem is that the e-Privacy directives are pretty much unworkable with any realistic understanding of how online advertising - or indeed site interaction - can work. The IAB has bent over backwards to try to work with the EC proactively on this subject, and while some of this is naturally in its own interests - it doesn't want publishers or advertisers hamstrung - at the same time it has a hell of a lot better idea of how the internet works, and how the majority of internet users use it, than the Working Party.

If the Working Party gets its own way, which isn't inconceivable, there'll essentially be a two-speed internet ad market: one for Europe, with a ridiculous number of popups at every website asking "please can we show you ads, please can we store your preferences, please please please"; and the other for the rest of the world, where 'Ad Choices' is perhaps not ideal, but is at least sufficient.

It's enough to make me want to read the Daily HateMail about how those Eurocrats are telling us how straight our bananas have to be...

Virtual sanity: How to get a grip on your home PCs


Interesting but I have a question

I appreciate that the Reg's core demographic here is IT professionals who know this kind of thing inside out and work with it sufficiently to easily scale it to their home/ homegroups. What would this look like for the interested amateur who has 4 PCs in the house, but equally wants to avoid the hassle of migrating/ rebuilding machines as they're upgraded/ borked?

Ofcom grills pirates, loses report under fridge for two years


This is somewhat disingenuous; research completed in May 2010 is not regarded as 'old' in the research industry, indeed anything under 2 years old is generally seen as quite fresh. I wouldn't be surprised if the report had taken until December of that year to be released, as it would have had to wend its way from vendor to client, then from client to client's boss, and onwards and upwards. Something as politically sensitive as this would take longer to release.

That said, that still leaves 12 months unaccounted for by Ofcom, and the suspicion has to be that they were waiting for an opportune moment to release it.

Oh, and qual research is NEVER representative, that's the point. As a professional research nerd, this is one of those incredibly difficult - yet remarkably intriguing - subject areas for which there isn't a perfect research methodology. The idea of granting 2,000 people immunity is interesting, but would quickly be ruled out for a) logistical (could it even be done legally?!) and b) behavioural (it's going to affect behaviour) reasons.

</research geekery> Still an interesting read, though; I'd like to see this not being brushed over in future policy decisions on piracy.

Facebook won't deny it is sitting on huge mountain of cash


One more thing...

Another question that springs to mind is where's that revenue from? Yes, Facebook advertising is doing well, but it really doesn't sell for much, and much of it is cpc-based - with dreadful clickthrough rates

Whitehall Post-Its, Ministers' GMail to come under FOIA?


The explanation seems to include some part of "a batter with 3 balls... on him". Sounds like a good place to be, and one can see why civil servants didn't want to be ejected from it.


Is eating the evidence allowable? No record, no need to disclose, no mess (assuming the paper's tasty)

REVEALED: People write things on Twitter, Media


Actually, on further investigation it would seem 'media intelligence' in this case means 'charging you to monitor Twitter for you'. Which would explain why this pointless piece of 'research'.

UK nuclear: Walking into darkness with eyes screwed shut



Lewis, it's been too long, and I've had to concentrate on other sources of nonsense - I started on Lewis Carroll's nonsense rhymes but they made too much sense compared to this one-man crusade.

>cretinous media coverage of Fukushima

Yeah, cretins. The exclusion zone means that thousands of people have been relocated but have nowhere to live; TEPCO has no idea what it's doing and is hiring cheap labour with the minimum of skills for straight-up brickwork, let alone nuclear power-station cleanups, and not allowing anyone to talk to the press; and the government is washing its hands of the situation even while independent tests suggest that the radius of the exclusion zone should be rather larger than it is. But the REAL issue is the media, definitely. Unless in a self-referential piece of hilarity, you're actually talking about your own coverage of Fukushima?

The Register goes Live on 22 Nov 2011



...this would be better with Brian Cox from off've out've Manhunter?

Apple's iPod: ten years old



"Once the iPod had gone public, the reaction was generally negative. The device wasn't cheap - $400 in the US, and £300 in the UK -"

Ye-es, but then again, no. Early adopters were eager, to the point that there was a small but significant market for a software workaround for PCs for the 8-9 months that it was Mac only. I remember I was following it avidly at that time, hoping that it would become less niche and open to PC users. When it was finally released for PC, the software (MMJB) was horrendous, but this was arguably the iPod in its most unadulterated form - by geeks for geeks!

Word spread pretty slowly, but the early adopters played a huge role in raising awareness of this weird new product category; it's interesting to think where Apple would be now if the iPod was still just for the tech geeks...

Are IP addresses personal data?


Personally *identifiable* information?

Good points, IME. The missing element I *think* is using information to identify individuals - so making the data 'personal'. IP address in marketing is used as a way in which to classify consumers in an aggregated form, rather than to identify Mr X, aged 37, of such and such an address.

The thing is, at present there's no distinction enshrined between uses of data in these ways, but it would seem that at some point in the relatively near future there will be a battle of interpretations to lay it down in law.

iPhone 4S: Our *hit list


Perhaps it's too simplistic but...

...one has to wonder how many of these shonky errors and omissions would have made it through to final producting if Jobs was still around. Whatever else he was - or wasn't - he wouldn't let half-baked products out the door, on the whole.

Netflix cans Qwikster



"Price rises were always on the cards: streaming rights are costly to acquire, and the process is far more complex than buying in DVDs"

Ye-es, but that credits Netflix with too much altruism. Realistically, they want to push people away from the DVD model, as the overheads (postal costs, say 10% losses of discs etc) are much lower with streaming. Of course, while they are encouraging people to stop renting DVDs, they're also encouraging people to stop using Netflix altogether. Mission... accomplished?

This Dianamania is a slur on Jobs


Hear hear!

So apt and I agree with every word. Unfortunately, this being the Reg, and you being you, you're preaching to the converted....!

Future Firefox to slurp updates silently


Background process

As pointed out above, this may well have an impact on add-ons that don't work on more recent versions. What happens if I want to roll back to a previous compatible version of FF?

Also, Chrome does this by having a resource-hungry background process constantly checking for updates (I think?) - on a work system already overloaded with firewalls, anti-malware and various scans, this is not a desirable attribute!

Ultrabooks vs tablets: tablet demise greatly exaggerated



Storm in a teacup if you ask me. So small notebooks aren't going to replace tablets. Or they may do. But tablets don't replace notebooks. Or they may do.

Seems to me (as a clear expert in this field...) that nobody has any freakin idea. Sounding off your own opinion I can appreciate - that's what the Reg comments are there for. Slating someone else's opinion on nothing more than anecdotal evidence - not so good.

Spotify tethers future to Facebook



Absolutely agree - I've been making this point for some time, but at present it's being drowned out by the people wanting to hitch their wagon to Facebook, whether as demented investors or distracted business partners.

Netflix: How to completely screw up



I don't want to be the dog in the manger here but....

- Netflix' (s?) business model going forwards has the *potential* to be fantastic, but it could fall flat on its face, being so dependent on the bandwidth and download caps available to consumers. In Canada, for example, it has had to degrade the quality of films in order to fit within the ISPs derisory download caps per month (typically 1-5GB); if/ when ISPs get fed up of bearing the brunt of the traffic charges again, Netflix could well suffer from 'traffic shaping'.

- Yes, there is a master strategy: stop sending people DVDs and move them to online-only packages. In theory it results in much lower overheads and hence bigger profit. It's not rocket science, it's just that they completely forgot what it's like to be a consumer.

I was expecting a more detailed analysis of what this means for the industry, next steps etc, but I don't really see the substance of this piece. Sorry.

Yes, there's a Tech Bubble. But that's OK


Ye-es, but...

You say that the market isn't anything like as frothy as in 2001, but have you actually seen a chart of Facebook valuations? I mean, 'silly money' doesn't even begin to describe it, especially when you take into account the fact that Facebook as a channel doesn't have anything substantive as a resource. Sure, its value stems from people interacting on the site, mainly on the premise that other people interact on the site (in a way that's strangely reminiscent of how shareholders buy overpriced shares on the basis because clearly everyone else is), but I have yet to hear a convincing plan for what happens when - and it is 'when' - my kids decide that they don't want to have fun on a site that their parents frequent. I do feel like the kid who pointed at the emperor's new clothes, but yes, we've heard 'but this time is dfferent' before. And no, saying it louder didn't make it true then either.

Facebook music dashboard: Revenue at last?



The problem is that consumers will pay for original content. Music from appropriate outlets, apps, news reporting from premium outlets - these are all things that people will pay for. Posting links, sharing jokes - these are things that people won't pay for, because they can do it for free. Facebook isn't an original content destination, hence having to try to tie in others' content and charge for that. It's ambitious, and I guess we'll see whether it's realistic...

Apple blocks sale of Samsung's Android fondleslab across EU



It could be construed as Apple seeing the writing on the wall - since it no longer has the monopoly on fondleworthy phones and tablets, and perhaps can only see evolution rather than revolution in its future models in these markets, it's resorting to other means to try to maintain its advantage for as long as possible.

Or in other words, 'we can't think of a better idea that'll sell, so we'll try to stop anyone else selling their version instead'.

It's official: Journos are dumb as a bag of IE users


So I guess

...the closest we'll get to "we reported a hoax story without doing our homework" is this "well actually it's not a hoax because the statements claimed may in fact be real. Or not".

Good work all round.

Anonymous, LulzSec go legit with PayPal boycott


I'm so confused...

On the one hand, I don't want to use Paypal because it's expensive and a borderline scam setup - and doesn't even work very well!. On the other, I'm being asked not to use it to support some doofus who really should know better.

On balance, I'm almost tempted to go back to using Paypal just to prove a point!

Nokia reaps the Dilbert years


Bugs not recent

You forget that Nokia was churning out buggy phones for years before the N97, though - they had a history of buggy firmware. The problem was that as consumers became more sophistimacated, and Apple raised the bar for quality control in handsets, this slapdash approach to firmware wasn't good enough. But they just didn't learn, it seems.

Google's Facebook: It rocks, but who cares?


One minor point...

"The iPod wasn't a revolutionary device"

It actually was; itunes didn't come along until quite some time later, particularly for PC users. It was the device itself that was amazing, as it combined the function of a Creative Jukebox in a box the size of a pack of cigarettes. Revolutionary, and way better than anything available at the time from Archos etc.

HuffPo goes UK: But shills and pols writing for free isn't new



"Roy Greenslade writes for a living and yes, he would be paid elsewhere in print"

Yes, he is, but when you read his musings you really do wonder why...

Spotify trumpets move to US (and little else)


...which perhaps neatly sums up the problem

Spotify started initially with a wave of excitement, partly because of the distribution model of invitations (only friends could invite you through a specific code etc). There are many happy premium consumers, although it would seem still not enough for them to break even, but now that it's pretty much all paid subscription only (the free models are now sufficiently restricted to be barely worth it), it's difficult to see that its launch in the US is going to have anything like the self-perpetuating excitement of its original European start.

And without a certain critical mass, it just doesn't work as a business. Not sure I'd be wanting to invest in it right now when (free) alternatives are still widely available and used.

Has Steve Jobs killed the consumer hard disk industry?


er.... no

"Smart phones and tablets are much easier to use than PCs "

Ye-es. Let's leave that assumption right there, shall we?

Attorney General threatens Twitter injunction-busters


mmm... he has a point - to a point

I think his point is that the recent Giggs case was blown on Twitter by someone who *knew* of the superinjunction - in which case there's a clearer case of contempt of court. He does still show a remarkable lack of understanding of either Twitter OR human nature, though, and little to no interest in whether Twitter is now crossing the divide between written media and conversation with friends, which would also make it kinda tricky.

Just saying, like

IAEA: Handling of Fukushima has been exemplary


Not even a small admission of reading it wrong?

The latest findings that the fuel rods melted pretty soon after the tsunami do seem to differ from the line at the time from one Mr L Page that nothing would happen, it would all be fine, and there would be no meaningful change in the state of the fuel.

Y'know, it'd be easier to swallow the rest of the Page line if he'd admit to getting that part wrong, rather than using it as further 'proof' that he was right all along, and really, explosions at nuclear power stations are sufficiently boring that we should just have them one a week for fun.

What treasures will the US really find on bin Laden's hard disk?


The best Islamic-friendly indie song that never was?

"join the caravan" (of Jihad) - like it. I can just picture Fatboy Slim on the bass...

Slack bank practice creates opportunity for phone phishing scams


Some banks are better than others

I've had this same problem with an American credit card company, but others are better. Interestingly, some banks insist on this kind of verification online - a picture and/ or passphrase you've previously chosen is shown to you as you log in, to show that this site is genuine, rather than some kind of phishing or malware spoof.

Spotify's new desktop client cuts off iTunes


No mention of Spotify free shutting up shop

I looked in vain for El Reg's take on Spotify's move away from the free subs model (as of 1st May, I can only listen to a track 5 times ever, and only 10 hours' listening per month) and what it means for legit online distribution. This seems as good a forum as any (apart from actually emailing, which seems like too much effort...) to ask what Andrew O et al make of it...

Punter bags 500GB SSD, finds 128MB Flash inside


one more

Call me stupid but I had the same situation; HK-based seller, sold 32GB card, seemed it was more like 4GB.

Thing is, I bought it through ebay, so while the seller may have been prepared to refund me, Paypal and eBay weren't due to "insufficient evidence" that I'd returned it.

Still, my only consolation is that my money is funding the Space X rockets...